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What the EPL may look forward to when it introduces VAR

Related Story: Don't let VAR controversy overshadow Victory's grand final win Related Story: 'Absolutely disgraceful': VAR slammed in heated Melbourne A-League derby

The English Premier League will introduce video assistant referees from next season, after clubs agreed in principle at a shareholders meeting on Thursday.

"The League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season," the Premier League said in a statement.

There have already been trials of VAR in English competitions such as the FA Cup, of which "key learnings" were discussed "in detail" at the meeting.

These trials have received mixed reviews, with fans complaining about everything from the amount of time taken to arrive at a decision to its inconsistent application.

For others though, this decision could not come fast enough.

Just last weekend, Southampton striker Charlie Austin made headlines with an impassioned plea in one of the all-time great post-match interviews after his side was held to a 1-1 draw by Watford, in which he demanded the introduction of VAR into the Premier League.

External Link: BBCMOTD Tweet: Wow. Charlie Austin is seething

Austin was incensed after having what would have been his side's second goal disallowed by referee Simon Hooper, who believed his strike deflected off teammate Maya Yoshida, who was standing in an offside position.

Had VAR been in use, Austin argued, presumably the referee would have been able to check and see whether or not the ball had touched Yoshida and the goal would have stood, giving the Saints a potentially crucial two-goal lead.

The Premier League's decision will bring the competition in line with many of the top leagues around the world, such as La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga — as well as the A-League, which was the first league in the world to introduce VAR in April 2017.

At the time, A-League boss Greg O'Rourke was confident VAR would be an enormous success, saying "the implementation of the VAR system will help eliminate incorrect key match-changing decisions".

Things clearly have not quite gone to plan.

With multiple incidents around the world provoking the ire of spectators and pundits alike, here is a look at some of the dramas the English Premier League will want to avoid next season.

Derby disasters

The Melbourne derby was marred by more VAR controversy

After a fairly shaky start to life with VAR — despite the wildly optimistic assertion that it was correct 98.9 per cent of the time — the A-League would have been hoping the technology would run a little smoother this season after the largely sucessful implementation during the World Cup in Russia.

However fans and VAR naysayers alike did not have to wait long to have cause to vent their frustrations after the showpiece round one fixture, the Melbourne derby, was marred by a refereeing blunder.

External Link: 10sportAU tweet: STRONG FOOTBALL EMOTIONS

Socceroos great Mark Bosnich described the use of the technology as "absolutely disgraceful" after Bruno Fornaroli was awarded a 36th-minute penalty at Docklands in the 2-1 victory for City over the reigning champions, as Victory coach Kevin Muscat shook his head in disbelief on the sidelines.

Bosnich was just as livid the following week when the Western Sydney Wanderers had a goal ruled out in the Sydney Derby at the SGC, with Markus Babbel sent off for his angry reaction.

On Fox Sports immediately following the game, the former Socceroos keeper did not hold back, launching an impassioned plea to rival that of Austin — arguing to suspend the technology until a review was conducted into its application.

"This cannot continue," Bosnich said.

"No fans, no game. They are the number ones. If they don't like something — like they don't like this in their droves — and you stand back and say 'bad luck to them', they're going to walk away."

Grand Final malfunction

'How did they get it wrong?!' Paul Wade baffled by VAR in Victory offside goal

Referees are often blamed for any controversial decisions, but when the actual technology fails, it is hard to point the finger at the man in the middle.

In the 2018 Grand Final, a major technical failure was blamed as Melbourne Victory opened the scoring against Newcastle, despite James Donachie being clearly offside in the build-up to the ninth-minute strike.

That was the only goal of the game, and denied the Jets a fairy tale championship after rising from the wooden spoon the year prior.

"We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology, and we understand the disappointment and frustration of the Newcastle Jets, their fans and indeed all football fans," FFA head of the A-League Greg O'Rourke said in a statement.

"On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable. We are working with Hawkeye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again."

Bundesliga blunder

Video Assist Referee orders Mainz 05 and Freiburg players to return to field for penalty

In the A-League's defence, comical situations have not just been confined to Australia.

In a Bundesliga match between Mainz 05 and Freiburg at the end of last season, players were called back onto the field during the half-time interval after the VAR gave a penalty for a handball that was noticed after the half-time whistle had been blown by referee Guido Winkmann.

That led to the comical scene of players re-emerging from the tunnel seconds after leaving the field so the penalty — which was scored by Mainz striker Pablo de Blasis to open the scoring in a 2-0 victory — could be taken.

It was these sorts of incidents that led the Premier League clubs to defer the introduction of VAR for this season, bucking the trend of the other major European leagues.

During his epic anti-VAR rant, Bosnich bemoaned the fact that football was "probably the number four game" in Australia, adding "this game is going to go under if this continues".

That is unlikely to happen in England, but the Premier League will be hoping that another year of trial and error will see these problems eliminated by the time the 2019/20 season begins.

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